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For a time it seemed as if with the fall of its strongest State
Germany were doomed to absorption in the growing empire of
France. Then with dramatic suddenness came a national
renaissance, out of which arose the Prussia that made Germany
great. Her leading men, inspired to genius by the magnitude
of the danger, set themselves strenuously to the creation of a
new government, a new army system, and a new education.

Education came first; and here the philosopher Johann
Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814) led the way in his Addresses to the
German People, delivered in Berlin while the French were still
in possession. Up to the time of Napoleon's conquest of Prussia,
Fichte, like many of his contemporaries, had been cosmopolitan
in his sympathies, and had looked forward to the merging of
separate nationalities in a great European State. Now he com-
pletely renounced his cosmopolitanism and called on his country-
men to work for the re-creation of Germany as the one State in
Europe which, by the purity of its race and the single-mindedness
of its traditions, was fitted for the leadership of the civilized
world. To that end he called attention to the possibilities of
education, as a means to the moral regeneration which was
necessary for the realization of this ideal. Education, he pointed
out, was the only domain in which the French had left them free
to -act* Let them take advantage of their freedom to raise up a
generation of men and women more original, more intelligent,
and more patriotic than their predecessors. The education needed,
he insisted, was one that would fit those undergoing it for real
life* On the moral side, this would involve the absolute fixation
of character so that everyone would do what was right as a matter
of course; and for that, conduct must find its motives in love of
the right and not in coercion or self-interest. Intellectual
education was only of secondary importance. The main thing
was to awaken the powers of mind to their proper activities,
and to encourage independent thought. The old education
relied on memory and passive absorption. The new must excite
the personal activity of the pupil, and learning would follow
without fail. Further, the new education must be a training in
citizenship from the beginning ; and that could best be ensured
if the children were entirely separated from the corrupt society
which they were one day to reform, and brought up under rational
laws as apprentice citizens in a special community of their own,